Playground Ideas For Small Backyards | DIY On A Budget




Playground Ideas


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Some of the playground ideas for small backyards include swings, slides, a playhouse, toss rings, race tracks, an obstacle course, or a unique sandbox. Whatever you choose should be age-appropriate to engage a child for a while. Also, go for ideas with a pop of color, and children will find them attractive.

Playgrounds are places where children can have fun and develop essential skills they will need to use for the rest of their lives. A well-built playground allows a child to be creative, learn, develop balance, improve motor skills, learn about risks, and understand what not to do to avoid injuries. 

There are several playground ideas that parents and caregivers can use to make a fun playground that will motivate kids to play outdoors. 

You can have swings, slides, a playhouse, toss rings, race tracks, an obstacle course, or a unique sandbox. Some of the ideas are expensive, while you can make others from simple household items. 

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How Do You Build a Safe Playground?

There are a few safety measures that parents and caregivers need to implement to ensure that a playground is kid-friendly. It is imperative to prepare the playground by removing any sharp objects, rocks, and other harmful items that kids may experience.  

You need to go through the playground area and examine it closely to ensure nothing harms children when they are playing outdoors. It would also be best to choose an area that is relatively flat to reduce the cost of flattening a playground

Create a containment area that keeps the protective material of a play area like rubber filling or wood mulch from spreading. It will also keep harmful materials from spilling into the playground area. 

Keeping playground safety is a priority because young children are always curious about anything, and smaller kids will put anything in their mouths. All playground equipment should be free of toxic materials and sharp corners. 

What Do You Put in a Playground?

Playgrounds are diverse, and you can put about anything that brings joy to your little one. Ideally, you need to place materials that will not injure a child, like plastic, EVA foam, and old tires.

Also, it would be best if you had equipment that will motivate the development of children. 

Challenging equipment like a seesaw or monkey bars can build balance and strength in children. A combination of playhouses can provide a variety of motor skills development for a child, plus it is a form of exercise. 

Playground Ideas on a Tight Budget

There are many playground ideas that parents and caregivers can use to create a fun playground without breaking the bank. Some of the ideas can be replicated in primary schools of larger scales, depending on the space allocated for a playground. 

Climbing Wall

Climbing walls are simple to install, they take up a little space, and you can find a kit available in an array of stores. If you have a plain wall in the backyard with no use, you can add a climbing wall or hang a cargo net for your little one.

You can even create a cargo net on a budget as a DIY project.

Paint the wall with bright colors and shapes to add a level of fun for children. Also, select a climbing kit that has many colors that kids will find attractive.

You should check each kit’s age limit so that you have the right level of difficulty for children of a specific age. 

Tree or Tire Swing

A tree swing or tire swing are among the most memorable playground items that children remember. It is simple to make a tree or tire swing using items found at home at a low cost.

You can use rope, an old tire, a few hooks, and bolts to hang it on a mature tree branch. 

Alternatively, you can find a tree swing kit that makes it easier to install a swing in your backyardTree swings provide a lot of fun to kids, and they can last for years, if not decades. 


A simple sandbox can provide various entertainment options for toddlers. Making a sandbox is as simple as making a large wooden box and finding non-toxic sand to fill it.

You can add a flair of elegance by creating a sandbox with a lid to cover it when the kids are playing. 

A lid keeps the sandbox free of any harmful elements that may fall into it. Another way to add flair is to add shade to the sandbox.

It will provide shade to the kids during hot and sunny days as they enjoy themselves. 

Another playground idea for a sandbox is a natural perimeter sandbox. You can create a natural sandbox along the perimeter of your backyard or schoolyard.

You can create a border using smooth stones and sand on the bottom of the segment. 

Create an uneven border that resembles a river flowing at the side of your perimeter wall. You can paint the borders with fun colors to add fun to the perimeter sandbox concept.

If you are looking for a full swing set with a sandbox here is our recommendation.

Hopscotch Tiles 

Hopscotch is an interesting game that seems to transcend generations and time. You can find a kit for the game that you can set up on the playground for kids.

Take it a step further and buy tiles with rainbow colors that kids will find attractive. Hop Scotch helps children improve balance and their coordination skills when jumping through consecutive numbers on the tiles. 

Recycled Old Tires

Old tires are the perfect DIY solution for cheap playground ideas that are fun and durable. They are popular in many playground ideas for individuals on a budget.

There are so many things that you can do using old tires. You will need to thoroughly clean the tires and paint them before you begin constructing any playground equipment. 

You can repurpose old tires to create a jungle gym of tires, playground borders, make-shift ladders, and so much more. Some experts specialize in making complex tire playground equipment that is safe for kids and affordable. 

You can find old tires just about anywhere, and there are many YouTube tutorials about playground equipment using old tires. You can find a tutorial that will help you create unique pieces of equipment like a tire swing.

Keep in mind that you will need to use child-friendly paints because kids will touch the tires all the time once they are on the playground. 

Playhouse Set

playhouse set combines various fun activities for kids like a slide, monkey bars, swing set, sandbox, a fort, cargo net, or a climbing wall, among other things. Playhouses come in all sizes, and it is possible to find small ones for backyards with limited space.

There are elaborate playhouses that can accommodate five kids at a time. 

Find one that has activities that will interest your child. Parents and caregivers can set up playhouse sets by following manufacturer instructions on the installation procedures.

Alternatively, you can find an expert in your location to do the installation for a fee. 


Outdoor chalkboards for kids are an emerging popular playground idea affordable for the parents and engaging to kids. Chalkboards for kids and accessories are popular in online stores, and you can find various colors, sizes, and shapes.

All you need is to select an ideal location in your backyard for the installation. 

You can use a chalkboard for aesthetic purposes, too, by finding a place where it complements the yard. Parents should consider installing some shade over the board because most do not withstand harsh weather conditions. 

Picnic Tables 

Children always need areas to rest and eat a snack when they are on the playground. Picnic tables are common in playgrounds as they offer a convenient resting location for kids.

Parents and schools can have fun when making DIY picnic tables with wooden planks, nails, and a drill. 

It would be best to consider the child’s age and height when making a DIY picnic table. It should be comfortable for kids to use and seamless for them to reach the tabletop when seated. 


A treehouse is among the classic playground ideas that still appeal to children of all ages. There are designs for simple tree houses with one room to complex ones that will act as a second home to your child.

You can add some toys and video games to a treehouse and create a little haven for a child. 

Also, parents can bond with kids when they involve them in building a DIY treehouse. You can make beautiful memories that your little one will hold dear for the rest of their lives.

The tree should have a safe way for a child to access it, and it should be high up on a tree.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Playground Ideas

There are no one-size-fits-all playground ideas because children are always growing and evolving each day. Choosing the ideal playground equipment will depend on the kid’s age, gender, and interest.

Here are some of the things parents and caregivers need to consider when coming up with playground ideas. 


The age of a child will determine the level of difficulty that toys and equipment need to have. It will also determine the safety precautions that should apply to the playground to avoid mishaps and injuries.

Toddlers require simpler pieces of equipment and more safety features than kids who are in primary school. Older kids will need complex equipment like high swings and complex monkey bars to have fun at the playground. 


Although there are many gender-neutral play items that parents and schools can use, there are children who prefer gender-specific play toys. Some girls prefer purple or pink playhouses, while some boys will love having a climbing wall. 

Also, boys may require more activity-intensive equipment than girls do. You can ask your child for their input on what they would love to have on their backyard playground. 


Different playground ideas carry different price tags. You can opt for a costly, elaborate treehouse that requires a contractor to build it, or you can make an old tire swing.

Each idea will depend on the budget you have and the cost of preparing the installation’s playground area. It is possible to reduce the cost by sourcing local materials and doing some playground ideas as DIY projects. 

Playground Size

You will need adequate space to implement your playground ideas in a small backyard. Take measurements of the free space you have in the backyard.

Deduct 2 feet from each side when considering pieces of equipment that don’t swing. You may need up to 6 feet away from the perimeters and obstacles when installing a swing

Ensure you leave enough room around the types of equipment for maneuvering around them. Finally, do not overcrowd the play area by adding too many toys for your little one.

Parents with more space have the liberty of choosing elaborate items that kids will love playing with the outside but adding too much will now allow the kids to enjoy the yard and use their imagination. 


It takes time to plan, prepare a playground, and install the things you want in your backyard playground. It would be best if you planned something that will not overwhelm you or take too much of your time.

You can start with Hopscotch tiles and then move on to a tire swing after a little time. 

Create an action plan with milestones to do a small part of the project now and then. You can always hire someone to come and make your ideal playground on your compound.

However, you will miss out on many family moments you can have with your kids when building a playground as a DIY project. 


Some playhouse ideas require a high level of expertise to make them a reality, while others only require basic tools like nails and a drill. It would be best to familiarize yourself with the installation processes of various playground equipment before choosing to implement an idea. 

You will need to find the best contractors for complex playground ideas if you want the best results. Otherwise, stick to simple ideas that you cannot go wrong even with your low level of technical know-how.

Knowing the skill sets required to bring your plans to life will help you execute the given period plans.


Playtime is an essential part of the growth and development of children. Kids can learn many things when using a climbing wall or playing in a treehouse.

It is also an effective way of keeping kids busy without using a TV, mobile phone, or tablet. 

There are many ideas listed in this article that are ideal for small backyards and tight budgets. All of them have the capability of providing immense fun to children of different ages.

It is simple to add security features to the playground ideas above. 

Most of them do not involve metals that can injure a child or any toxic materials. You can engage family members in deciding the best items to include in your playground plan. 

Playground Ideas

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